I can’t even begin to express my love for onion rings. Even more so now…
Leave it to the Italian girl to make a zucchini taste somewhat “fried”, coated in parmesan, and dipped in a spicy marinara. Absolutely addicting! You can bake them or even air fry them and they will be spectacular! A veggie that takes disguise as a cheat day snack either for your kids or for yourself is a beautiful thing!
I love fried food like everybody else. I’ve posted some of my favorites on Side of Veggies like my parmesan fries and onion rings. All of these recipes still taste great but just a different cooking technique that helps you get your fix. I will continue to push and find ways to make bland vegetables into rockstars.
When I started eating better, mid college, I really felt so much better, but I really longed for those endless summer nights out with friends eating whatever I wanted. Prime example: fair food, seasonal ice cream shops, festivals and concert foods all screamed summer indulgences. I remember walking around during a Jazz & Rib fest one summer after a week of over eating and over enjoying foods, that I just wanted something that seemed better for me. Low and behold I found FRIED VEGETABLES! Zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms and broccoli all battered and fried.
I’m not going to say that that was the healthiest thing I could find but because I developed such a love for vegetables, I had to have it. I felt a little better ordering that over the frozen, chocolate covered cheesecake the size of my head or ribs bigger than my arm. Then I saw these at a local Italian restaurant recently and it struck up a conversation with one of my coworkers about our love for zucchini chips/fries.
Zucchini in the summer is a must! Regardless how you eat it, it has to be a part of your summer cuisine. Being so fresh, and also so vastly available, you have to get super creative with your recipes and use of the squash. Zucchini parm could easily be made with this same recipe and technique – I’ll share more below.
These can be baked or added to the air fryer. I mean, sure, you can actually fry them but we are keeping them light and great for that summer energy and bod. These zucchini fries are so simple, fast and easy to eat as a side. Being hot, dip-able and lightly coated in breading, kids will happily fall in love with them! A veggie your kids can get onboard with even if they dip them into my healthy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing or Homemade Marinara.
Below in the recipe there are going to be some different variations of how almost anyone can enjoy some sort of variant of zucchini fries. These are perfect and they are very similar to my Air Fryer Onion Rings. Make one, make them both, but MAKE THEM! They’re absolutely perfect!
Please read all the tips and tricks if you want these to be exceptional! The biggest thing…YOU MUST ADD LEMON AT THE END! You must! 😉
- 3 medium zucchinis evenly cut into 12 pieces each
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder divided
- ¾ cup fat free liquid eggs or egg whites
- 2 cups panko Japanese bread crumbs
- ¾ cups fresh parmesan shredded
- ½ cup parmesan grated
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 medium lemon wedged
- ¼ cup parmesan shaved (to garnish, optional)
- ¼ cup parsley or basil chopped (to garnish, optional)
- Cut each zucchini into about a dozen even pieces (about 36 total fries). Set aside while setting up dredging station.
- In the first dish add flour, cornmeal, corn starch and then half the garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper.
- In the second dish, pour in eggs and a dash of salt and pepper and then whisk.
- In the final dish add panko, parmesan, and the rest of the garlic powder along with the red pepper flakes. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Gently toss all the seasonings with the panko.
- In batches of about 8-10 fries at a time, toss in the flour mixture and lightly coat the whole fry in flour. Then toss in the egg mixture until fully coated and then allow excess egg to drip off.
- After it’s been in the flour and egg, toss into the panko mix and press the panko and cheese around the zucchini fry until it sticks and coats the whole fry.
- Spray your air fryer with a oil based spray. Place each fry in the bottom of the air fryer in a single layer so they are spread apart. This will also need to be done in batches. Spray the tops of the fries with oil-based spray.
- Set air fryer to 400° for 6-10 minutes. Check after abo°ut 6 minutes to see doneness. No need to flip the fries. Once they are toasted and golden brown, remove and set on a paper towel.
- Garnish with squeezed lemon, shaved parmesan and chopped parsley or basil. Serve immediately.
- How to reheat them: Pop these back into a preheated oven at around 425-450° and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden.
- Keto/Low Carb version: Use almond flour as the first step in coating. Then for the panko coating, swap the panko with crush pork rinds, more almond flour (preferably a coarse version) or just cheese!
- Vegan Version: Use an egg-free egg substitute that is already in a liquid form. For the cheese, there are a few different versions of vegan cheese. **I cannot promise that the crisping and the sticking to the zucchini will be the same, but it’s worth a shot**
- Baked Zucchini Fries: Preheat the oven to 425° and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the fries as recipe states but lay them all out on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 mins on one side and then flip the zucchini to their other side and continue to bake for 10-12 more minutes until they become crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a paper towel.
- I would suggest that you make several batches and check after 5-6 minutes. They may need more time.
- Spread the fries out on the basket, do NOT OVERLAP!
- Spray the olive oil spray down on the basket and then on top of the fries
- No need to flip but your air fryer may be different at cooking.
- When you start smelling the “fried” smell you should check the cooking process but don’t check them too much.
- Remove immediately so they don’t get over cooked and allow them to cool slightly on a paper towel while making another batch.